Mindfulness—An Interactive Session for Physicians

Thoughts and feelings are temporary—and they don’t define us.

That’s a concept that Moshe S. Torem, M.D., wanted a group of primary care physicians to keep in mind during an experiential learning workshop. For an hour during the 29th Annual Internal Medicine Update Course at NEOMED, the professor of psychiatry talked about—and demonstrated—how the practice of mindfulness can help physician and patient alike.

“Don’t say, ‘I am sad,’’’ Dr. Torem told the group. “Say, ‘I feel sad.’’’ See the difference?

Breathing for peace

To bring home the message that it’s a good thing to switch off your mind from the thinking to the feeling realm, Dr. Torem led the group through a five-minute mindfulness exercise. Seated on chairs arranged in a semicircle facing Dr. Torem—feet flat on the floor, hands comfortably resting on their thighs—the physicians followed the instructor’s directions to simply pay attention to their breath, gently redirecting their thoughts to it if they began thinking about tasks instead. 

Afterward, members of the group said the experience was relaxing and centering—one that brought them peace. Learning to use short meditative sessions can help patients who have insomnia, or the physicians themselves, Dr. Torem noted.

Dr. Torem’s workshop was one of three hands-on workshops during the Update Course held at the NEW Center May 3-5.

“I think it’s the best update course yet,’’ said the enthusiastic Dr. Litman on the second day of the three-day event, which this year was themed around obesity.

Keeping primary care physicians current and patient-focused

For 29 years, NEOMED has served as an educational hub through the annual update course, bringing together primary care physicians for continuing education sessions. Notable presenters this year included Deepak L. Bhatt, M.D., M.P.H., a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, who delivered this year’s Harvey Lecture, titled “Advances in Cardiodiabetology.’’ Stephanie Moore, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine at Harvard, presented a lecture titled “The Future of Medicine: Returning to Our Roots.”

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